Descendants of escaped monkeys from Silver Springs appear to be thriving after 40 years in the flood plain and forest of Silver River State Park and Ocala National Forest. When Crystal and I were paddling our kayaks up the Silver River 10 days ago, we lucked into the troupe foraging along the river bank. We watched their antics for an hour before they moved away. (click here to see photo)
It's a 7 mile upstream paddle to the spring from where the Silver dumps into the Oklawaha River... so there's some work involved, but the river is gorgeous. The water is clear (and full of fish!), wildlife abundant, and the banks are wild (state park and national forest). We stopped along the river at one of the few places we could get out on dry land to stretch our legs and have a swim (click here to see Silver in the Silver River). If you go all the way to the source, it is surreal to find the amusement rides, river cruises, blaring music, and loudspeaker announcing activities at Silver Springs theme park. You can paddle right into the midst of it, though you're not supposed to get out of your boat.